Jon Bernthal Just Got Fans Pumped For The Punisher's Return In The Most Depressing Way

Nobody likes to hear about things going haywire in Hollywood, especially when it comes to beloved properties, but all the behind-the-scenes retooling that’s gone down during the production of Disney+’s Daredevil: Born Again seems to be resulting in net positives. Perhaps the most anticipated returning face is Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle, who hasn’t resurfaced the way Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio were able to bring their respective characters back. That said, it still makes sense that Bernthal is teasing that comeback in quite the depressing way. 

Bernthal isn’t necessarily the most public and outgoing person on social media, and anything he shares tends to mean something pretty big. And while we have yet to get an official shot of Frank back in his element under the Disney umbrella, his first big tease for Daredevil: Born Again is a direct callback to The Punisher’s dour backstory in the Netflix series.

A post shared by Jon Bernthal

A photo posted by jonnybernthal on

To anyone scrolling through without thinking too hard, this looks like an innocent enough shot of a children's book, with a title that doesn't automatically ring a bell in a world where Dr. Seuss exists. But for those who watched all of Frank’s story throughout Daredevil and The Punisher, it’s obviously a book that means just about everything to the character in a world where he’s no longer surrounded by his family. 

The storybook, which was created wholecloth for the series and doesn’t exist in the real world, was a favorite of Frank’s daughter Lisa, as he used to read it to her nightly before bed while still a civilian. But the night he first returned  home from Marine duties, Frank was too tired to read it to her, saying they would do it the next day, now knowing that it would be the fateful day when his entire family got murdered.

Which is why Frank, while in Punisher mode, is heard saying “One batch, two batch, Penny and Dime” before he goes on his deadly rampages. Echoing both “Hot Cross Buns” and One Fish, Two Fish…, the words aren’t necessarily meaningful themselves, but the act of saying them is Frank’s instant reminder that he’ll never be able to read to his kids again, which keeps him centered and vengeful.

So by all means, it sounds like the replacement creative team of showrunner Dario Scardapane, along with episode directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, will indeed remain faithful to the storytelling beats that were first established during Daredevil’s second season and throughout both seasons of The Punisher proper. (Though possibly with the changes we’re hoping for.) Which matches up with past reports that fans will even see the return of the villainous Wilson Bethel, whose evolution into Bullseye was teased at the end of his arc. 

I didn’t expect Frank Castle to suddenly turn into a grinning ball of enthusiasm when he returned or anything, but boy, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to get excited about a character’s return when teases are hinging on memories of dead children. It’s exactly the reason why we all got Disney+ subscriptions in the first place, no?

Daredevil:l Born Again, which is also bringing Foggy and Karen back, is planned for a 2025 debut on Disney+, though there are plenty of big shows coming to the 2024 TV schedule that’ll keep everyone busy until then.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.